Sometimes, “Keep it simple stupid” is all that you need to really improve a work. This series is a good example; if it weren’t so calm and slowly paced I’m not sure the impact would be half as good. We review issue #3 to answer the question, is it good?
Black Road #3 (Image Comics)
So what’s it about? The official Image synopsis reads:
The secret on the Norsk coastline starts to reveal itself, and out come the wolves. Literally!
Why does this book matter?
We picked the brains of Brian Wood and Garry Brown a few months ago about this series and it’s pretty clear they have something of a unique series especially given the lack of good historical fiction out there.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
So they don’t look friendly.
In some ways I could see this story playing out like a TV show. It’s very real and hard, and has excellent cut aways to what’s going on outside the characters’ small slice of life. The protagonists continue to try to stay alive amongst cold and wolves (as the cover suggests!) but we’re given the bigger picture too which helps convey the scope of the story big and small.
Wood does a good job revealing the true evil that has teased itself into the northern lands quite well. The flashback goes far to show us what our heroes are up against and Brown’s art in a measured and somewhat haunting way. The land has been destroyed, the people broken, and all because of some people in relative power. Power that needs to be taken away from them.
Meanwhile the heroes must stay alive. While they may not physically travel all that far, they’re trying to withstand the brutal cold which is instantly relatable. Maybe it’s because of Brown’s art which in five or six panels per page chooses to show us thought provoking moments. Later when the wolves attack the action is pulse pounding and will have you by the throat.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you like your comics fast paced or stories that cover a lot of ground (literally or figuratively) this may not be for you. You need to ruminate on panels, take it in slow, and feel the brunt of the story at the pace at which these characters are moving, or you’ll miss out. If you’re not up for that this isn’t for you.
Jesus is pissed!
Is It Good?
The brutal nature of staying alive in an older time is vividly realized in this issue. A fine backstory is revealed too which shouldn’t be missed. Like the characters, this comic will have you gripped with fear, brutal cold, and wishing for justice.
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